"For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth." ~ Deuteronomy14:2

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Raising The Standard: Determination Is Breaking Down A Seemingly Impossible Task By Concentrating On Achievable Goals

The nation of Israel had grown in strength and number and was now preparing to conquer the land. Trough unmistakable evidence, God had led them to this point in their development. This accomplishment would be the greatest in their history. Nothing hindered them from completing the task - nothing, that is, except a strange decision which their leader had recently made.
How Does Scripture Illustrate Determination In Accomplishing A Seemingly Impossible Task?
Rather than taking God at His word, he listened to the people and decided that it would be wise to exercise caution before taking the next step. Accordingly, he selected twelve men to go in and spy out the land. The nation waited anxiously for their return. Ten of the twelve spies lacked determination and brought home a bleak report. Two other men returned with them, but their report was in sharp contrast to that of the others. Their great faith and desire to accomplish this national dream gave them the determination to assure the people that with God's help, the land could be theirs. But the two were outnumbered and the people, deciding that the task was too large or them, chose not to go into the land. As a consequence, God sent a series of tragic events which plunged the nation into despair. Because of their disobedience and lack of confidence in Him, the Lord crushed their hopes of ever personally achieving this goal. One of the two men were sickened by his nation's lack of faith. He carefully reviewed what he would have done had he been the leader. A few years later, this very man was chosen to assume leadership. Now he had his opportunity to allow the nation to conquer the land as God intended. He called two trusted men and gave them instructions. They were to do what the original group of twelve had done many years earlier, but from a different perspective. The men did their job well and returned with the information. The Israelites moved ahead. In the years that followed, they conquered and subdued all the nations which occupied the land God had given to them. What was the factor which caused the first leader to fail and the second to succeed? The first group of twelve made their mistake when they spied out the entire land. The total job of conquering these nations overwhelmed them. The second leader, Joshua, learned to complete a seemingly impossible task by concentrating on smaller, achievable goals. He sent his two men out to spy on only one area and one city at a time. (From Deuteronomy 1:19-38 and Joshua 11:15-23) The report of the first group of spies had discouraged the people from even attempting their mission. But they failed to realize that nothing was impossible with God's help and their own determination. As a result, God had to wait until a leader was able to break down the seemingly overwhelming task into achievable goals
Why Didn't Joshua Become Discouraged As the Other Ten Spies Did?
Joshua had learned to look at things differently from most other men. He saw the same strong armies and the same fortified cities as the others. The ten spies saw a human impossibility, Joshua and his friend Caleb saw an opportunity to see God work another miracle. Joshua had been the leader of the Israeli defense against the attack by the Amalekites at Rephidim. He had learned there that victory belongs to the Lord. On that day, when Moses held his road toward heaven, the Israeli army advanced; when the rod dropped, they were forced to retreat (Exodus 17:8-13). As an aide to Moses he learned from firsthand experience of the power and reality of God (Exodus 24:13). Nothing was too hard for Him.
Was It Necessary For Joshua To Send Two Spies Into The Land?
Joshua did not intend for the spies to search out the entire land. Neither did he ask them to return with a feasible strategy. Instead, they were required only to obtain detailed information on the city itself. God had not yet given Joshua specific details on how Jericho was to be taken (cf. Joshua 6:1-5). It was not a lack of faith which prompted him to send out the spies, but rather the proper fulfilling of his responsibility as a leader to learn all the available facts.
How Successful Were Joshua's Methods?
Joshua had learned to look at things differently from most other men. He saw the same mission. His determination to achieve God's goal for His people impressed upon him the necessity of breaking the task they faced into smaller, achievable efforts. From his experience, Joshua established the criteria for the second spying effort. Their mission would be a secret one and their efforts were confined to information-gathering during a prescribed length of time in one city only. Joshua's method of taking one step at a time was so effective that the people were able to conquer and inhabit the land which God had promised them. "So Joshua took the whole land, according to all that the Lord said unto Moses; and Joshua gave it for an inheritance unto Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. And the land rested from war." The delicate features of the arctic tern give little hint to the extraordinary feat which it accomplishes each year of its life. Its name suggests a rugged bird able to endure severe cold and privation. But such is not the case. Despite its size, the tern has adapted an awesome schedule of activity which has earned it the reputation of being the champion of migratory birds.
How Does The Arctic Tern Illustrate Determination In Accomplishing A Seemingly Impossible Task?
In autumn the tern leaves its nesting grounds in the Arctic Circle near the North Pole and begins its journey to the opposite end of the earth. Each year it covers a distance of 22,000 miles in its migratory flight. Considering all side trips for food and other purposes, the actual number of miles it flies is undoubtedly greater than this. On its flight to the Antarctic Ocean near the South Pole the arctic tern will choose one of two routes. It either flies along the western coast of Alaska, Canada, the United States and Central and South America, or it chooses the alternate route along the western coasts of Europe and Africa. These flight courses are chosen because they include food-bearing currents. By the time the tern reaches the Antarctic, snow has begun to melt with the approach of spring. A few short months later the tern begins its long journey home. When it returns to its breeding grounds near the North Pole, it has literally flown around the world. To accomplish such a feat, the arctic tern clearly demonstrates a significant aspect of determination. The tern completes this seemingly impossible task by concentrating on smaller, achievable goals. Each day it covers approximately 150 miles, and by so doing, flies around the world in twenty weeks.
What Does The Tern Enjoy That No Other Living Creature Does?
Constant sunlight. For approximately eight months of the year, the arctic tern lives in almost continual daylight. In its migrational pattern it arrives at each of the poles just in time to enjoy their long summer days of twenty-four hour sunlight. During the remaining four months, it also enjoys more daylight than darkness.
How Does Daylight Benefit The Tern?
Because the tern is a small bird and flies long distances, it uses tremendous amounts of energy and so requires a great deal of food. Long daylight hours afford the bird more opportunity to catch the right amount of food and to store extra fat which it utilizes on its demanding journey.
Would a Tern Ever Get Lost In The Fog?
Even in foggy weather, the tern will continue fishing. As soon as the bird finishes feeding, it heads for shore - its sense of direction is unerring, direct and unaffected by the fog.
Just for Fun... The 12 Spies

No comments: